PC Gamer
Bioshock Infinite Season Pass

Irrational have just announced the Bioshock Infinite Season Pass, a three-pack DLC pre-order bundle that will be made available at the game's launch on March 26. I guess inherent in that reveal is also the news that Bioshock Infinite will be getting at least three additional bits of DLC content.

With work on Bioshock Infinite now finished, it's not really a surprise to learn that the team at Irrational are moving to add-on duty. Still, season passes always feel like an unnecessary gamble. Pre-ordering a game is a risk in itself, but pre-ordering add-on content with no clue as to what it'll be seems like a step too far. Sure, it could be excellent - Borderlands 2's DLC has been mostly great, making its pass worthwhile in the long run - but surely that's a decision to be made, you know, when it exists.

If you absolutely must secure absolutely every single piece of Bioshock Infinite, regardless of whether it's even real yet, the pass will cost £15.99 or $19.99. You'll also get the Early Bird Special Pack, which contains weapon damage upgrades, gold weapon skins and other shiny trinkets.
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In this week's debate, Evan argues that Crysis 3 is the best-looking game in gaming, while Tyler isn't wooed by its tessellated vegetation and volumetric fog shadows. It's undeniably impressive tech, but does Crytek still wear the graphics crown?

We assault, parry, and counter-parry on behalf of both sides in the debate below. Make your own case in the comments, and jump to the next page for opinions from the community. Evan, you've got the floor:

The Debate

Evan: C’mon, Tyler, have you seen Crysis 3? Go ahead, look at it. I’ll wait here.

Tyler: Oh, I've seen it. CryEngine is technically fantastic. Just like Thomas Kinkade was a technically skilled painter. But do I like his paintings? Not at all. Now Evan, I know you've seen BioShock Infinite. If Crysis 3 is a Kinkade, BioShock Infinite is a Norman Rockwell.

Evan: BioShock is beautiful, and I’ve talked with Irrational a bunch about what they’re doing to make the game look as good as it can on PC. Infinite’s art direction is inspiring, but I don’t think its fidelity and effects approach Crytek’s stuff, to be honest.

Man, we sound like a stereotype of teen girls, don’t we? “Oh my god Tyler, Orlando Bloom is so much cuter than Ryan Gosling, I don’t even know you anymore.”

Which would be a better date, Crysis or BioShock?

Tyler: Psh, Gosling is way cuter, but I see your point. If not technical quality, we're arguing a subjective preference for one style or another. But we can still argue it. Art criticism is valid, and if it isn't, my doodles are just as special as Crysis 3’s art direction, because that’s just my opinion.

Evan: We have to consider both sides, though. Crysis is totally concerned with maximum performance, and that theme extends to the technology that drives the art as well as the art itself. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all, but Crysis also wins from a quantitative standpoint. The gun models are carefully animated, but they’re piled with polygons. Wall textures in obscure corners of levels are given an unusual amount of care, but they look higher-resolution than any other game. In terms of raw texture quality and the 3D and 2D assets Crytek puts into the game, it’s evident that Crysis 3 is the prettiest thing on PC. Even the damn grass is innovative.

Tyler: I see we've hit the semantics hurdle already. It's hard to avoid in debates like this, but let's try to leap over it. “Prettiest” can mean a lot of things. I’m not taking it to mean “great anti-aliasing” or “look at all that grass!” To me, it could mean Limbo’s black and white film reel or Mirror’s Edge's stark playgrounds. Can you argue for Crysis 3 on those grounds?

Evan: Sure, but as PC gamers we’re interested in what our handmade machines can do. If someone asked you “I just built a PC. What game will really show me what my hardware can do?” would you recommend Limbo over Crysis 3?

Tyler: Alright, maybe not, but if you want to go technical, mods make Skyrim and GTA IV way more fun to look at than Crysis 3's rusted metal and overgrown foliage. iCEnhancer is insane.

Evan: iCEnhancer is a terrific mod. It’s a great demonstration of what’s possible on PC. And I don’t want to shrug off the effort it took to make it, but it isn't a comprehensive approach to creating something visual and interactive. It’s CG for the sake of CG. It’s novelty, to some extent, like the Star Wars special editions. Great visual design originates from an artistic vision and having the technology to convey that vision. Crysis has both sides of that.

Tyler: So you agree it’s not just about cranking up the polycount, but I disagree that Crysis nails the vision side of things. If I were going on vacation, I’d much rather book a tour through Skyrim’s snowy peaks and shimmering lakes.

Evan: Yeah, it’s obviously not all about stuff like polycount, but if we’re comparing two 3D, first-person games, the technical quality of assets matters. It’s the reason Skyrim’s characters appear slightly flat to me—they feel like inexpressive NPCs, and Psycho feels like a virtual person.

Skyrim's Mr. Corn Cob Horns

Crysis 3's Psycho

Tyler: Your counter-argument is vanilla Skyrim, but I'll go with it anyway. Yeah, it's got some blurry bits, but a trip to New Zealand with my glasses off is still better than visiting a movie set with 20/20 vision.

Skyrim is so full of character and variety. It's got this unique sense of scale, where mountains somehow feel like huge miniatures. It's got- well, I could go on, but instead I'll just show you my tribute to it:

Crysis 3 just doesn't do that to me—It's got some lovely swaying grass, but for all that foliage it doesn't feel alive.

Evan: Skyrim is pretty, but not nearly as impressive. I guess I judge visual experiences more on how intensely (and how often) they produce that feeling of “I can’t believe this is coming out of my PC.” Or “I can’t believe this isn't pre-rendered.” Those moments that raise the bar in my mind of what computers can do. Crysis does that more than any other game for me.

Tyler: Does it? Crysis 1 got us so used to holding the series up as the benchmark for PC power that it’s become our default, but it’s not 2008 anymore. Have you seen Witcher 2 with ubersampling? It’s called “ubersampling,” man, how could we ignore it? And don't forget about RAGE. We didn't totally love the game, but damn it looks good.

Sorry buddy, id is still the tech leader. Since you like comparing characters:

A passive gaze in RAGE.

Evan: Two bandanas? CryEngine can only render one; I am defeated.

But yeah, I actually had forgotten about RAGE. It speaks to id’s technical strengths that they can take a brown setting and make it look that beautiful. I’d be willing to say that RAGE’s acrobatic mutants are better-animated than Crysis’ bad guys. But I’d rather be in Crysis’ sunny, overgrown jungle than RAGE’s bright, barren desert.

Psycho in his debut role on Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Tyler: No fair choosing such delightfully dramatic lighting.

Evan: I just like the idea of Psycho telling me a ghost story behind that flashlight.

Tyler: It'd probably be way better than some silly story about slapping a “Nanodome” over New York. Forget about people faces, there’s something really special about RAGE's rock faces. Look at them for a while, and you realize that they haven’t had a tiled texture slapped on like, say, almost every other 3D game before RAGE. The whole surface has been hand painted with virtual texturing. Yeah, that’s something John Carmack invented. Have fun with your dumb non-virtual textures.

I asked id’s Tim Willits to help explain, and he said something that's hard to argue: “Michelangelo could not have painted the Sistine Chapel using procedurally generated textures.” Hear that? id Tech 5 would totally be Michelangelo’s preferred engine if he were alive today. Alright, maybe that's not exactly what he was saying, but it makes the point: an engine that removes limitations from the artist enables better art.

Evan: Virtual texturing is an exciting technique, and I’d love to see it used and iterated on more. But innovations in how flat, static surfaces are rendered don’t excite me as much as the improvements Crysis 3 made to lighting, animated vegetation, and character tessellation. The game has more moving parts, and they all feel authentic. Here’s a trailer that pans through some of the improvements:

Tyler: Alright, so that’s some stunning simulation. I especially like the “dynamic water volume caustics.” Still, I think you might have something else to say about “flat, static surfaces” when Arma 3 comes out. Its scale is incredible and the lighting is gorgeous, but check out that repeating ground texture. Blech! It and Crysis 3 would benefit from id’s technology and artists.

Evan: Oh, whatever. Arma 3 is a huge step forward from Arma 2, and I could even write a massive defense of Arma 2’s visual design, flawed as it is. The animations are rigid, and most of the textures look like they were picked up at a garage sale, but it’s one of the few games (with Crysis) where I go out of my way to run through grass because I love how authentically it animates.

It’s easy to be critical of all of these games. I don’t like Crysis 3’s overuse of motion blur (though some console commands can help with that). But we’re here to name a king—the best-looking game on PC. And I think Crysis’ sci-fi setting, neon weaponry, uncompromising approach to movie-like effects, and Crytek’s incredible engine represents the best-yet combination of aesthetics and technical quality.

Tyler: We'll see about that. You managed to derail my train and put it on the tech track, but now I’m re-railing it: objectively, both CryEngine and id Tech are superior to Unreal Engine 3, but BioShock Infinite is still better-looking. It’s got more style than Crysis 3 has blades of grass, and that’s where it counts. The magic isn't in the fancy shaders or even virtual texturing: it’s in the idea-havers and the art-makers.

Follow Evan, Tyler, and PC Gamer on Twitter to react to our battle prompts as they happen, and see how the community responded to this one on the next page.

@pcgamer modded or un-modded? Because I'm pretty sure you can make Skyrim look better than real life if you install enough mods.

— superkillrobot (@superkillrobot) February 20, 2013
@pcgamer technology wise? Probably. Art direction? Imagination? Notsomuch.

— Tony Heugh (@standardman) February 20, 2013
@pcgamer Definitely, no contest.

— Jake (keyboardN1nja) (@keyboardN1nja) February 20, 2013
@pcgamer For me, I gotta say Battlefield 3.

— Tribesman Gaming (@tribesman256) February 20, 2013
@pcgamer it is definitely, by far, the best unmodded game in terms of raw graphics ever. It just is. Real time caustics. 'Nuff said

— Kai Moseley (@Kibby_Cat) February 20, 2013
@pcgamer Yes, from a tech perspective. Psycho's model is IMO the most realistic looking human model in a game yet, coming from a #BF3 fan.

— Gerardo Pena (@Tobi5480) February 20, 2013
@pcgamer Crysis 3 does look fantastic, but something. about the snowstorms in Skyrim just blow me away.

— NSVG Blog (@NSVGBlog) February 20, 2013
PC Gamer
BioShock Infinite

It's time to make sure your tickets are in order and your tweed vests are properly packed in your steamer trunks, because the (sky)train to BioShock: Infinite's floating metropolis is on schedule to depart on March 26. That is, Irrational's Ken Levine wrote in a blog post that the game has gone gold.

"When we first announced BioShock Infinite, we made a promise to deliver a game that was very much a BioShock experience, and at the same time something completely different," Levine says. "And our commitment to making good on that promise, no matter what, has been our driving force for the last three years or so."

Levine breaks down the damage in delivering a worthy successor to BioShock after five years in development: "The total cost of the game was five years, 941 billion Klingon darseks (plus tip), 47 camels, a cranberry flan, and the blood, sweat, and tears of the Irrational team." Useless fact of the day: a darsek roughly equals one half of a bar of gold-pressed latinum.

Over at Polygon, Design Director Bill Gardner talks about the bumps and design redirections encountered in Infinite's long skyrail leading to release, revealing he initially conceived the game's setting taking place during the Renaissance period and that the team ultimately culled enough content to "make five or six games."

"I will say that I was actually pushing for something more Renaissance, but within six months, Assassin's Creed II was announced and I was like, 'OK, well they beat us to the punch,'" Gardner says.

With one of the most contextually sensitive remarks I've ever seen, Gardner comments on Infinite's canned content: "I mean, it pains you when you're talking about about cutting one of your babies, but ultimately, you've got to to look at the final piece."

Though Gardner didn't elaborate on how fleshed-out the cut content actually was, I find it somewhat difficult not to address the slight hyperbole in the reported quantity of Infinite's axed portions. It's more likely Gardner is referring to possible ideas for levels and mechanics that were eventually discarded or half-finished areas eliminated for the sake of time or to ensure what the player experiences jives with Irrational's intended theme. And from what we saw during our recent and lengthy visit to Columbia, its surviving districts pull off that obligation most handily.
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Check out the official announcement made by Irrational Games' Creative Director, Ken Levine...


PC Gamer
Bioshock Infinite Elizabeth thumb

Roughly two million* Bioshock Infinite trailers have been released so far, detailing everything from the majesty of floating cities, to eerie alternate-history reporting, to questionable pre-order bonuses, to spoilerful opening cinematics. The latest, titled Lamb of God, teases the role of Elizabeth, Booker's reason for being on Columbia in the first place.

Bioshock Infinite will be released on March 28. In the meantime, Tom's detailed his five-hour session with the game right here.

*Citation needed.
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To clear his debt, Booker DeWitt must rescue a mysterious girl from the sky-city of Columbia. But who is this girl? What makes her so powerful, and why are so many willing to do anything to keep her from escaping? More importantly… what price will you pay to set her free?

PC Gamer

There’s something I can’t tell you about BioShock Infinite. Not because it’s a spoiler – I’ll avoid those too – but because I can’t quite communicate it. It’s something I felt after playing Half-Life 2, and again after playing BioShock 1. It’s the sense you get after experiencing something so vivid and rich that you know you’ll never be able to fully describe what it felt like. But I’ll try.

"‘City in the clouds’ doesn’t really express the sheer size of it: there seem to be several of those in every direction."
That’s not how I expected to feel after playing Infinite for the first time. They’d kept it out of journalistic hands until suspiciously close to release, and the trailers and walkthroughs didn’t give a good sense of what kind of game it was. Somewhere in my head, I just copied BioShock 1 from the bottom of the sea and pasted it into the clouds.

Some of that is accurate. In BioShock 1, you played an outsider discovering a failed utopian city at the bottom of the sea; in BioShock Infinite, you play an outsider discovering a failing utopian city floating in the sky. Both games let you explore an extraordinary place, piecing together its story from evidence left lying around. And both games alternate that with combat: you wield both conventional guns and a suite of basically-magical powers that let you do interesting things to your enemies.

Once you arrive, though, it’s hard to call them similar. ‘City in the clouds’ doesn’t really express the sheer size of it: there seem to be several of those in every direction. Columbia’s huge districts are disjointed, drifting in loose formation as the impossible flotilla tours the world. The first one I explore feels disjointed in itself: half the buildings seem to be bobbing and lurching independently, like some weird dream. Curving skyrails take massive carriages of cargo, like sidewinding trains. Airships propel themselves slowly between districts on twin fans. And the smoke from every chimney streaks in the same direction: we’re moving.

But the most startling difference from BioShock 1 isn’t the views: it’s the people. Rapture was a failed utopia, Columbia is still very much in the process of failing.

"Exploring a dead place by yourself, with you being this cypher, we’ve kind of done that."
Plenty of times in my five hours, I’d enter a new district of the city where no-one has any particular reason to hate, fear or shoot me yet. Columbia is full of civilians milling around, gossiping, griping, and going about their business. It’s exactly what Irrational Games had avoided doing not only in BioShock, but in its spiritual predecessor System Shock 2, simply because it’s so hard to make it work. I asked creative director Ken Levine: what changed?

“If we went back to that now, I think people would say we were just repeating ourselves. Listen, it would have been a lot easier. We would have been having this conversation two years ago... but exploring a dead place by yourself, with you being this cypher, we’ve kind of done that.”

Was it as hard as they feared back then? “So, I don’t want to bore you with my problems, but the writing task was monstrous. It was huge. I remember the first level I wrote, the first draft for this prologue, I sat back and looked at this script, and I realised this script alone was longer than my entire script for BioShock.”

As I’m playing it, though, it’s not a game of long conversations. A lot of that work seems to have gone into a depth of story, rather than length. Even more so than in BioShock, the density of information encoded into the world around you is overwhelming. Every poster is propaganda for a faction you’ll meet, or a product you’ll buy, or a cryptic hint to one of the game’s dozens of connected mysteries. Pre-television viewing booths show flickery greyscale government infotainment, with title-card dialogue and jaunty music.

"Almost every line of dialogue has some payload of information about this foreign place."
Plot characters still leave audio diaries of their thoughts lying around, but now they’re joined by living people having normal conversations. And almost every line of their daily lives has some payload of information about this foreign place.

“It’s damned inconvenient when buildings don’t dock on time,” a well-dressed man complains to his companion as I walk by. “Yesterday I had to take a gondola, rubbing shoulders with all sorts.” If you’re ‘someone’ in Columbia, your destination comes to you.

Later on, I actually see it happen. As I’m walking towards a bridge, Chas White’s Home and Garden Supply shop floats slowly towards me and docks noisily with a pair of metal teeth jutting out of the street, clanking into place and steadying as it locks. A nearby troupe of a cappella singers harmonise over the noise.

It’s all terribly... nice. It has the atmosphere of a cheerful village fete, but in a village that couldn’t exist. At one point, we seem to be in a cloud: a thick haze turns everyone in the street to silhouettes, picked out by spectacular rays of golden sunlight. Confetti floats through the air, and hummingbirds pause to probe flowers. Two children splash each other in a leaking fire hydrant.

"Blood geysers all over my face. I’m drenched. Everyone’s screaming."
Half an hour later, for reasons I won’t go into, I’m ramming a metal gear into a man’s eye socket until blood geysers all over my face. I’m drenched. Everyone’s screaming. Four more men are coming for me, and this blunt steel prong is all I have to kill them with.

I skipped ahead there for two reasons: one, I don’t want to spoil why violence does finally break out in BioShock Infinite. It’s a moment that will become notorious in gaming, and a hard one to forget.

Two, I wanted it to sound jarring, because it is. Extremely, intentionally and upsettingly so. When I ask Ken about it, he describes the intended effect as “biting into an apple and finding the worm at the core”.

It works as that. But it’s also jarring in another way. A moment ago I’d been enthralled by this place, fascinated by how different and fresh it was, hanging on every word of these people’s everyday lives. When I realised my next task was to ram a piece of metal into eight different people until they were all dead, part of me thought, sadly, “Oh yeah. Videogames.”

It’s not a new thought, it only stands out here because Infinite is so superb at conjuring this place and luring you into its story. When I mention it to Ken, he’s sympathetic. “It’s an intensely bizarre concept that you play a character – whether it’s Uncharted, or this game, or even like an Indiana Jones movie – who’s essentially a psychopathic mass murderer. You’re fucking insane. I’m very aware of this issue... it’s something we actually attempt to confront at some point.”

"It’s strange to see white-on-black discrimination so unflinchingly depicted."
The other thing Infinite confronts, with surprising directness, is racism. I’m so used to games having some orc- or elf-based analogue for it that it’s strange to see regular white-on-black discrimination so unflinchingly depicted.

“I didn’t want a game that just had some racism in the background,” says Ken. “I wanted you to be engaged and confront those issues – in the same way we confronted you with what capitalism does when it goes to its maximum extreme.”

“In this game we think it’d be honest to deal with these topics, and these aren’t topics we take lightly, and they’re not necessarily going where you think they’re going. This is not... I don’t want to spoil anything.” Well, mission accomplished.

It’s a very story-driven game – you’re always heading to an excitingly new part of the city with a specific purpose. As far as I played, it never lapses into a formula, which gives it a sense of adventure and discovery that BioShock didn’t always have. And the places it takes you to are what really made me fall in love with it.

"You’re always heading to an excitingly new part of the city. It never lapses into a formula."
I’m in a temple. Soulful gospel music echoes through the dark halls as I wade through knee-deep holy water. Spectacular statues sparkle in shafts of sunlight. A preacher’s speech to his damp-robed congregation crosses the line from passionate to unhinged.

I’m on a beach. There’s actual sand, and an ocean of sorts. I can still see Columbia in the sky... and after a moment I realise I’m still in Columbia. The ocean runs off the edge of this district in a vast, Niagara-style waterfall.

I’m in an exhibit, of sorts. A huge statue of Columbia’s first lady catches beams of brilliant pink light, as plaques tell the story of her life. In the next room, a spectacular diorama has larger-than-life statues of dozens of soldiers tumbling off a cliff, a frozen snapshot of a massacre, shrill opera music blaring out of bad speakers to underscore the unmoving drama.

I’m in a mansion, old and gloomy. Stairs lead up. A banquet hall is to the left, and I see what looks like a butler in there. He’s facing the wall. I walk around to get his attention, but he just stares blankly. I look at the table. It’s piled with rotting food, and there are crows everywhere.

Even taking it slowly, these new places come at a rate and a density of detail that feels like sensory overload. Each one has that depth of story I described earlier: dozens of clues and hints and references and traces of people’s lives and stories. And each one has an extraordinary visual design that makes you stop and gawp.

Most of them, of course, are also battlegrounds. At first, I didn’t think much of Infinite’s combat. Not just its videogameyness in a world that’s otherwise so real; I also felt like I didn’t have a lot of options, and you’re fighting a crazy number of soldiers and turrets. There doesn’t seem to be a good way to avoid getting hit.

"Taking cover gets you cornered. Hooking onto a skyrail and going full throttle makes you too fast to track."
It gets better when skyrails are introduced. Steel tracks worm their way through the plentiful empty space in Columbia, and your sky hook lets you launch yourself onto them and ride them like a rollercoaster. That, ultimately, is how you avoid getting hit. Taking cover usually just gets you cornered by someone you can’t take on at close range, but hooking onto a skyrail and going full throttle makes you too fast to track.

From there, you can aim a jump to any of the various platforms and vantage points, pounce on an enemy with lethal force, or just stay on the rail until it loops around, to get an overview of the war zone.

Your set of abilities expands gradually, and the spaces you’re fighting in get bigger and have more interesting stuff going on in them. So to get a sense of how it scales up, I asked to play a late-game fight.

The first thing I do is hop on a skyrail and take a tour: a bunch of heavily armoured soldiers are shooting at me from a central balcony, some more from a moving airship, and a half-robot giant – a Handyman – is stomping around below.

As I watch, he jumps onto the rail I’m on and sends an electric charge through it, shocking me. I stay on until I’m in a position to pounce on one of the armoured guys on the central balcony. My flying skyhook attack knocks him clear off it, but his partner fights back hard. My shotgun doesn’t do much against him, so I try a new ability: Charge. I fly forwards and slam into him with alarming force, and he goes down.

"Elizabeth's most useful ability is to open a ‘tear’ – a rift in space that brings forth some useful object."
I’m low on health, so I run over to some medkits – or rather, where some medkits could be.

Your companion, Elizabeth, joins you in combat, riding skyrails with you, tossing you ammo, and reviving you when you’re down. But her most useful ability is to open a ‘tear’ – a potential rift in space that brings forth some useful object or feature. You can see all the potential tears in an area in grey fuzzyvision, and ‘use’ one to ask Elizabeth to make it real. She can only sustain one at a time, and by this point in the game, a big combat space like this has at least eight.

So I ask Elizabeth to open the tear in front of me, grab a medkit from the box that appears, and heal myself. I decide to try another new ability: Undertow. As I hold down the right mouse button, a tendril of water creeps out of my hand, curls around the arena, grabs onto the Handyman and sucks him in front of me. Oh, thanks Undertow!

I switch to Shock Jockey and electrocute him while he’s wet, then ask Elizabeth to open a nearby tear that brings in a pool of water. I try to lure the Handyman into it in order to shock him again, but he has an annoying habit of jumping directly to me. He’s pounding me to oblivion with his articulated fists.

I skyrail over to a high balcony to get away. A tear here handily contains a barrel of rocket launchers, so we open it and I grab one. Another tear has an automated turret, so I tell Elizabeth to open that one before we move on.

"Late-game combat is still hectic, but you’ve got a lot of options."
The Handyman chases, and is pelted by both the turret and my rockets as I ride away. He grabs the rail in both hands, but I’m wise to it this time: I drop down just before the current shoots through the metal. I hit him with two more rockets as he leaps around the arena, then use Undertow – intentionally this time. A snake of liquid seeks him out and pulls him to me, and holds him in place for a second. I use the time to back up a little, switch to Charge, and hold down the right mouse button. The moment he’s free, I slam into him full force, and he crumples.

Late-game combat is still hectic, but you’ve got a lot of options and they’re more satisfying than just shooting dudes with the bog-standard weapons. The constant skyrailing and leaping around make it fast, dramatic and acrobatic to play.

I’m glad the combat gets more interesting, but combat wasn’t the most common complaint about BioShock – it was the ending. I ask Ken if he agrees that BioShock got less interesting after the Andrew Ryan encounter. “Yeah,” he says succinctly.

"The ending of the game is the most ambitious thing we’ve ever done, as a company."
I ask if they’ve learnt anything from it, hoping for a post mortem. Instead, he jumps straight to BioShock Infinite.

“I would say that the ending of the game is the most ambitious thing we’ve ever done, as a company. It is either going to be something incredibly wonderful, or people are going to burn down our office... So I can’t tell you whether people will like it or not. I can tell you it is absolutely different to anything you’ve seen in a videogame.”

It’s the sort of ridiculous thing Peter Molyneux would say. But after playing BioShock Infinite, after coming away with an experience I can’t fully express, and after thinking back to the scene in Andrew Ryan’s office in BioShock 1... I half believe it.

Community Announcements - MajorPixel
Alistar Bloom further explores the mysteries surrounding the floating city of Columbia in this "Truth from Legend" segment. What is the "Songbird" -- and how is it connected to the enigmatic "Lamb of Columbia"?

PC Gamer
BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite breaks through its cloud cover and skydives onto your computer on March 26, a date that will also mark the end of a turbulent journey of repeated delays, box art quibbles, and staffing woes. In an interview with OPM, Irrational boss Ken Levine comments on previous rumors of a multiplayer mode and layoffs, saying that the attention these two issues got was "a little frustrating" for the team.

“We were very careful never to say there was multiplayer in the game," Levine explains. "It was a little frustrating for us to say it has been cut when we never announced it in the first place. We didn’t want to talk about anything regarding multiplayer because we weren’t sure about it in the same way we weren’t sure about a million things. You’ll see the art book when it comes out, and you’ll see a million characters that were cut, a million levels that were changed, ideas for weapons were thrown out. It’s just part of the process, and we're fortunate as a company that we're able to do that kind of stuff.

"I think because we didn’t have any news for so long we sort of went quiet," he adds. "Because we figured we had showed people at E3 what the game was, and now it was just time to let people play it. That led to a lot of time for speculation."

As for staff departures from Irrational, Levine chalks up the added attention to hyperbole and prefers to let Infinite's actual content do the talking. "It’s far less dramatic and interesting," he says. "Somebody leaving the company or somebody joining the company. I’m sure your business has people leaving, and it’s not particularly interesting. What can you do at that point except say, ‘The proof is in the pudding; play the game’ that can tell you better than I can ever tell you about the state of the game.”

We've talked about the things we liked and didn't like from our hands-on experiences with Infinite. Do you think Infinite's sky-high story will cancel out its development troubles?